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March 26, 2009

ICT for a Low Carbon Society - Consultation

In January 2007, the European Commission adopted an energy and climate change package, subsequently endorsed by the European Parliament and by EU leaders, targeting a 20% increase in the use of renewable energy and a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (compared to 1990 levels) by 2020. In May 2008 it announced an intention to promote the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in meeting these goals by improving energy efficiency throughout the economy.

The untapped potential of ICT is expected to reduce total carbon emissions in Europe by up to 15% by 2020 - not only by improving monitoring and management of energy use in workplaces and public spaces but by helping make people more aware of how they use energy domestically. A Communication has been published on 12 March calling on Member States (who at last December's Council summit reiterated a collective commitment to meeting the 20/20 targets) and industry to take concrete steps to realise this vision by spreading the use of technologies that allow people and business to carry out their daily activities in a more energy efficient way.

The Commission have consequently launched a new public consultation to establish a common understanding among all stakeholders of the issues needing to be tackled and of the proposed solutions. Contributions will feed into a Recommendation setting out specific actions to make the best use of ICTs being adopted in the second half of 2009.

In a related development, a 23 March agreement between the European Parliament and the Czech EU presidency on liberalising the EU's energy market - the so-called unbundling policy - means that some 80% of European consumers are set to have smart energy meters, found in recent trials to contribute to a 10% reduction in typical energy consumption, installed in their homes by 2020.

Smarter energy use: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/sustainable_growth/energy_efficiency/index_en.htm
Consultation: http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ipm/forms/dispatch?form=ICT4EE3
Deadline: 14 June

Posted by iroronan at March 26, 2009 03:22 PM

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March 19, 2009

Public consultation on climate change policy

As part of a review of the implementation of EU climate policy, the European Commission is preparing its Fifth National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and is inviting organisations active in this field, including economic actors and NGOs, to contribute to this process through a questionnaire.

The European Community National Communication will cover the legislative measures and techniques relating to climate change mitigation and adaptation as adopted and implemented by the EU since 2006, as well as its assistance policies and programmes. The communication will not cover the Member States’ own activities, since each party to the convention must submit its own report.

Deadline: 4 May

Posted by iroronan at March 19, 2009 03:29 PM

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March 16, 2009

European eGovernment Awards 2009

Local and regional public sector organisations are invited to submit their Information and Communication Technologies activities to the European eGovernment Awards 2009 to highlight how ICT improves service delivery to improve citizens' quality of life, increases trust in government and public sector organisations, and contribute to the increased competitiveness of companies and businesses.

The award categories are:
- supporting the Single Market (cross-border e-services and information sharing impacting on mobility for citizens and businesses);
- empowering citizens (improved and easier access to public services for citizens; ICT solutions for participation and/or engagement of all groups in society).
- empowering businesses (improved and easier access to public services for companies creating business opportunities and thereby enhancing competition and generating savings for businesses and SMEs);
- enabling administrative efficiency and effectiveness (Innovation or re-organisation in services and processes making administrations more efficient and effective and reducing administrative burden).

Submissions will be evaluated based on relevance, impact, innovation, potential for sharing good practice, management approach and communication and dissemination.

An Information Day will take place in Brussels on 21 April and the IRO would be happy to attend on behalf of interested parties. Call deadline: 10 June.


Posted by iroronan at March 16, 2009 03:18 PM

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March 12, 2009

Municipal waste survey - mixed results for Ireland

According to a Eurostat survey published in March, only the Danes among all EU nationalities generated more municipal waste per person in 2007 than the Irish average of 786kg. This amount is a full 150% of the EU average of 522kg. By contrast the Czechs produced a mere 294kg each - largely reflecting enormous variations in household consumer behavior patterns between Western and Eastern Europe though these figures exclude agricultural and industrial waste. The Danish total is mitigated by a mere 5% reliance on landfill compared to other methods. This trait is shared with Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden in particular - all of which prioritise incineration. Ireland is one of 11 Member States which did not at the time employ incineration - though the only one in Western Europe.

This also indicates significant differences in methods of waste treatment with recycling rates varying from 46% in Germany to several countries which continue to rely entirely or almost exclusively on landfill. The figure here for Ireland is an encouraging 34%for recycling which ranks joint fourth overall and a mid-table 64% for landfill. Composting accounted for 2% of treatment in Ireland - a figure dwarfed by the 13 countries who exceed the 10% mark for this method with Austria reaching 38%.


Posted by iroronan at March 12, 2009 03:05 PM

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March 09, 2009

Clean Vehicles Directive

The EU’s Council of Ministers definitively adopted, on 30 March, a new directive on the Promotion of Clean and Energy Efficient Road Transport Vehicles aimed at creating a viable market for green vehicles. This will require public authorities to take into account operating costs and the environmental impact of the vehicles that they plan to acquire when placing invitations to tender. The directive applies to all public contracting parties and to all types of vehicles, be the operators public or private.


Posted by iroronan at March 9, 2009 03:12 PM

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March 04, 2009

EU's local links emphasised by survey

A special Eurobarometer survey published on 27 February indicates that 50% of EU citizens trust their local and regional authorities above their national government (34%) or European bodies (47%). Unsurprisingly the figures are generally highest (up to 72%) in countries with relatively empowered local and regional government systems.
A corrollorary is that 59% of respondents across Europe believe this level's proximity to citizens and familiar channels of communication are best placed to explain the way EU policies affect daily life for local communities and should consequently be afforded an enhanced role in the Union's decision-making process.

In a subsequent speech to the Committee of the Regions (CoR), Commissioner Margot Wallstrom recognised the findings, arguing that regional and local bodies "are well placed to do the job'' of communicating Europe. Wallstrom ,who has spoken on numerous occasions of the importance of informing citizens about how the EU affects their lives, also asked the CoR through its local and regional authority members for help in boosting turnout at June's European elections.

Extracts from Eurobarometer survey: http://www.cor.europa.eu/pages/PresentationTemplate.aspx?view=detail&id=016489d2-ea22-4b5f-9bc8-b41cc68188c7

Posted by iroronan at March 4, 2009 11:14 PM

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March 03, 2009

Mobility Week lauds Cork & Galway efforts

Both the city of Cork and Co. Galway were among ten local authority areas recognised by the European Commission for their outstanding efforts in raising public awareness on the theme
of ''Clean air for all'' during last September's European Mobility Week (EMW) 2008.

Cork City Council used the momentum of EMW to introduce 'Gocar', the first Irish car-sharing programme, and an innovative car-pooling service called 'Avego'. Over the course of the week, the public were able to avail freely of local bus services, bike maintenance courses, and personal health screenings focusing on lung and cardio-vascular function, blood pressure evaluation, carbon monoxide tests, and lifestyle counseling. Sustainable transport exhibitions, social events and the 'Rebel Pedal' bike parades were also organised.

Newcomer to this annual event, Galway County Council developed an ambitious week-long programme promoted through dedicated media work and a Sustainable Mobility Information Point. This included a series of themed events to encourage walking and cycling such as 'Free wheel Friday'. The occasion of EMW was used to implement permanent sustainable transport measures including introducing and promoting a new integrated traffic and parking management system, plus installing new bicycle stands and racks and signage. Schools in the county also made a commitment by adding sustainable transport as a permanent topic to their environmental programmes.

Over 2000 separate European towns, cities or local authorities (10 from Ireland) took part in EMW 2008.The 2009 version will be held from 16-22 September.

Contact: harling_hayes@corkcity.ie
Contact: mowens@galwaycoco.ie

Posted by iroronan at March 3, 2009 11:18 PM